Review: Moneyball

20 Feb 12

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it was hard not to be captivated by the game's romance as I watched today's film Moneyball. Based on Michael Lewis's exceptional biography, Moneyball: The Art of Winning the Unfair Game, the film focuses on arguably the modern game's most innovative exponent, Billy Beane. In a sport where a team's success is determined by the balance of its payroll Billy took the Oakland A's from zero to hero with little more than pocket change. Throwing the old-school methods of scouting out the window, he used a widely panned mathematical selection process called Sabermetrics. Pioneered by janitor Bill James, Sabermetrics takes a player's micro statistics and formulates a score based on their skill set, in the process, determining a team's probability of winning by a selection based on stats rather than raw talent and gut instinct.

Brad Pitt (Billy Beane) is quickly maturing as an actor. More than just a pretty face these days, his acting chops grow as he matures. As with his recent performance in Malick's Tree of life, a lot is asked of him. With little room for comfort, director Bennett Miller chooses ever increasing tightness in his shot selections on our protagonist. Not an easy skill to master for any actor, even one with the pedigree of Brad Pitt. Fictional character, Paul DePodesta (Jonah Hill), is brought in as an exponent of Bill James' selection theory. Although I can generally handle Jonah, I felt he under played his role and looked uncomfortable without his humorous crutch. All said and done though, Jonah's weak performance didn't detract from a brilliant film that purists of the game will be talking about for years.